FENCES AND STOLEN LANDS
Because of the nature of the environment when Man first came from the trees, or wherever, he was a nomadic creature. He, with his (probable) group, needed to wander to find suitable shelter and food. As food was more often than not on the move, he needed to move with it.
If he settled in one place because that place provided his needs (at least for a while), he needed to construct a device to contain his group and keep out those elements that were a danger to him, after all, he was prey as well. So he first found a cave and then built fences.
Fences are strange things. They can be made of anything handy to KEEP THINGS OUT and KEEP THINGS IN.
As physical structures, they do that, even today (mostly).
When societies grew, the fenced domains remained (unless the inhabitants had moved) but the borders of those fenced encampments grew. However, unlike physical fences, borders are not really physical, except perhaps for mountains and such-like.
A fence is usually, anything you can’t easily climb over.
Encampments expanded and became territories, bounded most often by no physical means. Thus disputes would result in some form of altercations or fighting to gain more territory and feeding grounds depending on the skills of the invaders. This was because fence-building would have become more difficult in the long run (pun intended). All animals react in the same way, even now, of course. If there is no immediate threat, then the territory can expand.
Thus invasions began along borders of territories (where possible) with the weapons of warfare on the basis of ‘I’m bigger and better equipped than you’, syndrome.
However, the ‘fence’ mentality still prevailed in many people’s minds and still does today, especially in people who want to retain their own fences (for seclusion as well as defence) and/but have no wish to invade others’.
The unfortunate thing about today (and many years ago especially with exploration of the planet) is that there are a great number of people who were and still are nomadic, in the original sense as described above. Examples are the natives of Africa, the Red Indians and the Australian or New Zealand aborigines.
These peoples were still nomadic and in truth, remain so (they have just been contained on some sort of reservation). So, being nomadic, they did not have fences and still do not; they did not need them because they were and are of no use to them; there is no concept of them at all.
Then came the ‘Fence People’ from Europe (for example). They know that fences are meant more to keep things OUT rather than keep things IN (apart from enclosures for animals, for example), so that they less often invade them. Naturally the ‘in’ or ‘out’ depends on the perspective.
However, the mentality accrued, such that if there were no fences, the land was open game for settlement. Hence the stealing of land. If it is fenced it is less likely that it will be invaded because it belongs to someone and it would be stealing. If it is not fenced, then it doesn’t belong to anybody, so it is not stealing.
But it is, of course stealing and, apparently, that matters not a jot to these invading peoples.
The notion, thus prevailing was that ‘if it ain’t fenced, the land is up for grabs’. This is not the only motive for land-grabbing, of course.
So Europeans stole ‘Africa’, the ‘Americas’, ‘Australia’ and many, many other indigenous peoples’ lands because there were no fences.
Fences may also be a form of self-preservation and exist in the mind as a non-tangible.
Thus one might construct a mental fence (or barrier) against what is invading a personal space. One might want to keep out an idea that is disagreeable and contain an idea that is agreeable.
The only difference being the tangibility.
As Man became more centralised (even in small groups) the notion of ‘fencing’ became more prevalent and may even be extrapolated to the conditions which prevail today. The first step was what we call ‘industrialisation’. This led to larger factories, for example and the need for tenement-type dwellings to house the workers, even in farming communities (the so-called ‘Agricultural Revolution’), the bane of the countryside.
The politics of ‘containment’ cannot be overlooked, either and this notion of ‘fencing’ may also be applied through subjection of peoples to ideologies, advertising and so forth.